by Resa Nelson
Publication date: June 19th, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Frayka must find and convince the dragon gods of the Far East to appease the gods of her Northland heritage. If she fails, her own Northlander gods will destroy all the mortals who once promised to worship them.
The Far East is a mysterious place of legend to Northlanders like Frayka. Only an old map can show her how to get there. Once she arrives, all of Frayka’s sensibilities put her in danger. And every dangerous turn delays her from finding the dragon gods whose help she so desperately needs.
Although Frayka looks like a Far Easterner, she is a powerful Northlander warrior who is quick to voice her thoughts. She is trained to fight and won’t hesitate to do so.
But everything about Frayka puts her in deadly peril in the Far East, where the laws are strict and the punishment cruel.
Especially when the one being punished is a woman.
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~AUTHOR INTERVIEW with Resa Nelson~
1) What gave you the inspiration for the storyline?
Gate of Air is Book 1 in my new Dragon Gods series, which is part of my Dragon Cycle of novels. My intent is that anyone who hasn’t read any of the previous series can pick up Gate of Air and enjoy it. That said, Book 1 (The Dragonslayer’s Sword) of Series 1 (The Dragonslayer series) is currently free on Amazon, so it’s a great way for people to sample my work to see if they like it.
The inspiration for the storyline came from a high school student who contacted me on Twitter. We ended up having an email conversation. She raised what I consider to be a good point: Why are the vast majority of main characters in fantasy fiction blond? My Dragon Cycle is inspired by Norse culture, so many of the characters are blond. The second series (the Dragonfly series) is set in my fantasy version of Native America, which I created because I’m part Cherokee – but even then, my main character is a Norse woman with blond hair!
I began thinking about how to create a new series within my Dragon Cycle that focuses on Asian characters. I realized I have one Norse character who mentions in Series 1 that he had a grandmother from the Far East. That was my springboard. This Norse character already had a daughter. What if his daughter inherited his grandmother’s looks? What if his daughter looks Asian but has never been to the Far East? What if she identifies with being Norse? I was writing Series 2 at that time, so I figured out a way to introduce this mixed-blood character (Frayka) to the main character of the Dragonfly series. The Dragonfly series ends with Frayka getting a mission of her own that requires her to go to the Far East, a land that’s little more than a myth to Northlanders. That mission begins in Gate of Air.
2) Are there any hidden themes in the book that you hope readers will discover?
Yes. Even though Frayka looks Asian, she’s lost once she enters the Far East. She doesn’t know how to speak the language and it takes a long time for her to learn it. She’s baffled by the culture, especially when it comes to the way women are perceived and treated. Frayka is used to being a strong and powerful woman, but to survive in the Far East, she must re-think how she approaches and interacts with people. She’s been trained to fight as a warrior, but now she’s outnumbered by an entire country. So a lot of what’s going on in the series is the idea of having mixed blood and coming to terms with both the positive and negative aspects of that. It’s about trying to find balance and figuring out who you are when you come from two completely different cultures.
3) Are any of the characters based on real people you know?
Frayka is based on the most unfiltered part of me. She does and says the kinds of things I try to refrain from doing and saying in real life.
4) Who has influenced you most as a writer?
I’m a graduate of the Clarion Workshop, where all of my teachers and fellow classmates had a huge impact on my growth as a writer.
5) If you could have any three literary characters over to your place for game night, who would you invite, what would you play, what would you serve, and why?
First, Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I own both the Swedish version and the English version of that movie because sometimes I have days where I really need to hang out with Lisbeth.
Second, Jo March from Little Women because she’s pretty feisty. I think she can handle hanging out with Lisbeth.
Third, Hermione from the Harry Potter series because she can handle this crowd and also show off her magic skills.
We would play charades.
I’d get take-out Chinese food, including lots of dim sum. I’m also a big fan of tea, so we’d have lots of tea.
Resa Nelson is the author of the 4-book Dragonslayer series: The Dragonslayer’s Sword (nominated for the Nebula Award, finalist for the EPPIE Award), The Iron Maiden , The Stone of Darkness , and The Dragon's Egg . Her 4-book Dragonfly series takes place after the Dragonslayer series.
Her standalone novels include the mystery/thrillers All Of Us Were Sophie and Our Lady of the Absolute.
Resa has been selling short stories professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), and she is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop. Resa was the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years as well as a regular contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.
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